Saturday, December 3, 2016


Water is still a fundamental substance to life, to anyone in a morph that is biological. Many morphs can survive on less water than a flat human, it's still pretty important to keep up the intake. While technically nearly all water is "recycled", most transhumans cut a few steps out of that cycle. A basic Maker (p. 238 EP) can clean and repurpose any biological product for clean water, though many still find direct recycling uncomfortable or unpleasant. More typically, enclosed habs feature large scale water recovery and treatment, which filters all water utilized by the hab. Water supplies are typically topped off by "fresh" supplies of water ice. Certain reactions, such as a HO rocket or hydrogen fuel cell, produce water vapor as a byproduct which may be collected for use. On planetary bodies like Mars and some exoplanets, people often carry travel bottles or canteens which incorporate the same microfilter technology as Filter Straws (p. 159 Gatecrashing).

Alcohol has a long history with humanity. Some even argue civilization would not be possible without fermentation of alcohol to ensure sterile drink. This relationship persists for Transhumanity, though with some changes. Advances in smart microbes and new strains of yeast, as well as supplemental nanotech broaden what can be fermented and what flavoring can occur. However, some new complications arise. Cereals are often hard to grow, or at least very space intensive meaning that traditional grain alcohols like beer only appear in habs or regions with large space, such as Mars of Venus, and often are seen as a more premium commodity. The second factor is that carbonation causes unpleasant or outright unhealthy side-effects in microgravity - meaning carbonated beers are only consumable by persons who can afford something like medichines or in gravity wells. This means Mars has some of the broadest variety in brewing traditional beers. Wines are similarly limited due to reliance on fruit, but sometimes even more rare for it.

Distilled alcohol and liqueurs are much more common throughout the system, and almost every habitat and many large spacecraft have at least one still lying around somewhere. Alcohol is useful not only for recreation, but for sterilization in case of a septic hab, and occasionally fuel. Typical "rotgut", "moonshine" and "torpedo juice" tend to be highly localized by the producer and habitat. More exotic blends of beverage depend highly on the locale, for instance mead made from honey-producing Smart Bees is common on Venus and Titan. Many traditional "brands" of alcohols have been bought up by hypercorps or held by hyperelite names - only some of which are utilized in something resembling their original forms, but other "secret" recipes and techniques are open sourced on the Mesh. True connoisseurs now have an additional problem, as "regional" products cannot be "truly" made off Earth anymore. Makers and CMs can produce substitutes for most alcoholic beverages, but this is generally seen both as energy inefficient and not quite the same - makerbrew is generally seen as only for people who lack money or taste.

As noted with Vitali-Tea and Black Lightening, drinking coffee or tea is often habitual or cultural to transhumans. It's a very common "ritual" in many cultures. Very simple substitutes for caffeinated brews can be produced by many models of maker or food fabricators, but typical Fab-Caf or Maker Tea is generally considered to be "almost entirely unlike" the original substance - and is typically viewed on the same level as coffees or teas sold in bottles or cans in the early 21st Century. Many vending kiosks even stock such drinks in bulb or disposable cup form, for people who don't want to wait for it to fab. "Real" coffees and teas still exist, but similar to beer space limitations on crops make it an artistic or luxury good in many parts of the Solar System. The tea trade is strongest out of Luna and Venus, though Venus does also offer several varieties of coffee - mainly to local cafes. The coffee industry on Mars was strongest out of Qurain, but since the Fall that has fallen off somewhat. That said, many a Nomad's Mobile Greenhouse is stocked with coffee. Varieties of Coffee and Tea are highly valuable, and samples or DNA sequences of them are special enough for fights to break out over them, both legal and physical. The style of "iced" coffee and tea has not died out, as many habs in locations which are relatively cold by Old Earth standards, so producing and storing items in lower energy states is often seen as easier.

Dairy is another typically common resource to humans, but one which has been greatly affected by the Fall. Actual bovines are now incredibly rare, with vat-grown meat more common. Habitats with gravity may use mammals like goats, sheep and alpaca to control greenspace and provide fibers, and also might milk them for either milk directly or to produce other dairy products. Much more common, however, are synthetic replacements made via nanofab as milk is a common ingredient in a lot of human cooking. These replacements often offer the direct nutritional or chemical properties, though many claim the taste is slightly off. As lactose intolerance is removed by basic genefixing, synthetics based on cow milk are the most common, but in some locales niche markets for derivatives of human milk exist. Biotech such as the K-Flask (067 Farcast) can also be used to produce unique pseudo-dairy products as well.

Much like Beer and Coffee/Tea, Fruit Juice is a drink which is limited by space availability. That said, citrus at least contains nutrients vital to the human diet, so it is not uncommon for any hab with growing space to dedicate some to a variety of those. This makes the natural juices of those fruits slightly more common in habitats. Other fruit juices are often more rare and exotic, and many of these are converted to wines to keep sterile and help preservation, especially if the fruit on it's own is popular to consume. Like most other drinks, synthetic blends produced by fabrication are available, but these can sometimes blur the lines between fruit juices and traditional fruit-flavored soft drinks.

While soft drinks (particularly sodas/colas) were wildly popular in many ways on Earth, they ran into a bit of a hitch with space colonization for the same reason as beer - that carbonation is not very pleasant in microgravity. This put a dent in the extraterrestrial market for a period of time, until colonization of planetary bodies such as Mars and Venus started to advance. Due to being at the center of the Planetary Consortium, Mars has one of the strongest markets for sodas, with Martian "Red Cola" being the most popular and widest marketed. The basic ingredients of many sodas and colas are easily made in properly advanced Makers, so are not uncommon at home - replacing buying large packs of cans or large bottles. Due to the inclusion of many synthetic ingredients in sodas already, "basic" colas made by makers are not generally seen to impact the quality or taste - but "premium" sodas made from all natural ingredients exist and are sold at higher prices, often in expensive metallic cans or glass bottles. Also similar to beer, many old trademarks and brandings from Earth were bought up by hypercorps, and occasionally used in something resembling their original form. Ginger ales also appear occasionally, mostly in some neighborhoods on Mars and Titan as local specialties. Interestingly, Root Beer or synthetic replacements are slightly more widespread, as they can actually be produced without carbonation. Sodas are also common as a mixer for alcoholic beverages in gravity habs. Dry powdered soft drinks to flavor water also remain incredibly popular, even more widespread than sodas. They come in all kinds of flavors thanks to ease of manufacturing from makers, and many of them have additives which may even place them in other categories of drink.

While caffeine might be more habitual than anything in the face of Transhumans needing less sleep, this hasn't stopped chemical engineering from finding more substitutes or other substances with stronger effects, or even the inclusion of previously illicit substances in "energy" drinks. While those who want serious performance enhancement get real cognitive drugs like Drive or Klar (p. 318 EP) marketing still offers a variety of drink-based stimulants, some of which have actual effects as labelled. Some of these even mix in real enhancement drugs which can be taken orally, but these tend to be more expensive. High doses of caffeine or other synthetic substances are most common, though some exotic mixes exist (such as drinks based on cocaine). These tend to be non-carbonated for wider marketability, but some variants exist - and others even blend with alcohol. The most gimmicky brands (such as the short-lived "TITAN Energy", pulled for being in incredibly poor taste) tend to be marketed at young adults, students and overworked middle classes who push the amount of time Basic Biomods allows one to stay awake or have heavy workloads, and tend to have names like "12-hour energy", "Mars Bull", "Demon" or "Popstar". Serious energy drinks which have strong effects tend to be favored by security or technical personnel with long shifts, and short-hop spacers who prefer to stay awake tend to be more subdued and serious, with brands like "LongWatch", "Nuclear" or "Rocket Fuel". Drinking large volumes of energy drinks can be still be harmful to your health, and is not recommended without toxin filters or medichines.

Many drinks include additives for some other purpose. These take a couple different forms, much of which has to do with marketing over necessity. "Sports" drinks, protein and other health supplements are actually fairly limited - mainly only in Jupiter and Luna due to physical fitness regimens and routines being common there culturally. Some professional athletes make marketing deals to sell these to the public, but in general athleticism is supplemented by advanced medical additives and vitamin regimes - in addition to simply using higher quality morph design. Alternatively, some drinks may contain "combat" drugs like Kick, MRDR or Phlo (p. 219 EP) to actually temporarily boost performance - and are priced accordingly. Nutritional supplements or meal replacement in drink form, however, are fairly common across the system. Powders or direct synthesis into water is fairly common, with "Liquid Rations" being one of the most common brandings of this idea. This is popular for quite a few people, especially those who are mobile and don't have time to sit and eat traditional meals, or don't care for the style and texture of a lot of basic maker food.

Of course, with capitalism going strong in many parts of the solar system, there exists a need to market products, so many drinks are sold on ambiguous qualities or certain prestige or rarity to them without necessarily having more proportional value in their production. Even in the New Economy, hobbyists or even microcorps will try and engineer new memes and demands for products not based on their intrinsic values to gain rep. Some of these ideas are incredibly specific, others are more broad and thus common around the solar system. One example is "NanoWater", purified water which contains active nanobot swarms to "preserve freshness" and thus has a time limit before the nanotech becomes non-functional. This is seen as a luxury drink by the hyperelite. Similarly, preying on Earth nostalgia, "reclaimed" water is frequently see, marketed as water recovered from the blue marble itself, and purified. Most sold reclaimed water hasn't been anywhere near Earth in at least 10 years, if ever, but authentic ones are highly valued in certain markets. Some substances are sold as drinks even though they aren't intended to be used that way, such as the chemicals Slip and NotWater (p. 323 EP), which is usually unpleasant but not harmfull as neither interacts with the body in any meaningful way.

And then you have your truly exotic, strange and unique drinks - made possible with the alterations to the transhuman form, or through advanced manufacturing abilities such as active nanotech. Most common are substances which can only be consumed by those with Toxin Filters (p. 305 EP) (medichines would make one uncomfortable still), delivering what would normally be toxic as an additional source of flavor. Some substances are straight up poisonous, including extra high levels or variants of alcohol, or including classic toxins (arsenic, cyanide, etc). Other cases are more presentational, such as "snake wine" brewed with venomous snakes actively in them to give a bit of extra kick or sense of danger to drinking them. The Ultimates are known to make drinks colloquially known as "ambrosia" or "soma" which contain blends of flavorings and toxins which are said to even push the limits of the Remade. Others even drink radioactive drinks, though not even toxin filters can wholly prevent damage this may cause.

Nanotech adds a new dimension. Flavors and chemical properties can change mid-drink with the right nanotech. Others work like nanodrugs to directly stimulate emotional and mental states in the drinker though expensive often prevents such substances from being widely spread. On the subject of mind-alteration, many recreational drugs which can be taken orally are also blended into drinks for flavoring or can be "drunk" on their own, such as the common substance Monochrome.

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